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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently changed out my run flats for Continental ExtremeContact DWS on my 2012 X5 35d (with 20-inch wheel option). After changing the tires, I noticed my vehicle has been pulling/drifting to the right.

Based on the advice of some well respected people, I decided to get the alignment checked at a trusted shop. The shop confirmed the alignment was very slightly off (but within spec) and adjusted it slightly. Even after the adjustments, the car still pulls/drifts to the right, and I feel like I have to turn the wheel ever so slightly to the left, just to go in a straight line on the freeway.

I'm debating whether or not to go to the dealer and insist they check the alignment. On the basis that the car has only 650 miles, this should be covered. Even if it is not covered, I'm confident I can cause enough of a scene to get it done for free. Obviously, I'm not going to mention that I already had it checked, since they will obviously blame the other shop.

I've attached an image showing the before and after specs of the alignment (top half is the before, bottom half is after) and would welcome comments. Any help would be much appreciated.

PS: I have checked all the tire pressures and they are normal.
 

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Automotive Monomaniac
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Nearly all highways are slightly crowned for drainage ***8212; meaning they slant to the right slightly in the United States. This will require very light pressure (to the left) to keep the vehicle straight.

Have you tried your alignment "test" on a level surface (mall parking lot, school parking lot, etc...)?

- Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nearly all highways are slightly crowned for drainage - meaning they slant to the right slightly in the United States. This will require very light pressure (to the left) to keep the vehicle straight.

Have you tried your alignment "test" on a level surface (mall parking lot, school parking lot, etc...)?

- Mike
Mike,

What did you make of the specs? Did the shop actually improve things or make them worse? I'm having a really hard time making any sense of the information at all. I would appreciate your thoughts... The measurements don't seem to line up with the handful of other threads I've seen where people have shared this data.
 

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Mike,

What did you make of the specs? Did the shop actually improve things or make them worse? I'm having a really hard time making any sense of the information at all. I would appreciate your thoughts... The measurements don't seem to line up with the handful of other threads I've seen where people have shared this data.
I'll admit that I am not an alignment expert. This sounds nuts, but we align race cars with a string and plumb bob... not a computer.

Hopefully, someone else can chime in.

- Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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No expert here either, but I did get my alignment done very recently at a non-dealer place.

No pulling to either side whatsoever . . . crown on the road does cause this, but you can easily check this by going on a different road - or a big empty parking lot.

Just looking at the after (or final) settings - most of the parameters are in the "red-zone" . . . I seriously doubt this alignment shop did a good job at all.

ard will know for sure . . . and might even ask you to take it back to the same shop or get your money back!
 

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I cannot figure out what they've done with the alignment, but I would think- AT THE LEAST- that all wheels must be 'in the green' after they were done.

Why not ask them for the specs they used, and your results for toe & camber... My read is that toe is too much. WAY too much....

http://www.xoutpost.com/623046-post21.html
 

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I cannot figure out what they've done with the alignment, but I would think- AT THE LEAST- that all wheels must be 'in the green' after they were done.

Why not ask them for the specs they used, and your results for toe & camber... My read is that toe is too much. WAY too much....

http://www.xoutpost.com/623046-post21.html
+1

I can't figure out that alignment report either.

Usually it will say something like... "Factory toe +/- .02 degrees -- Current toe .01 degrees"

- Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I cannot figure out what they've done with the alignment, but I would think- AT THE LEAST- that all wheels must be 'in the green' after they were done.

Why not ask them for the specs they used, and your results for toe & camber... My read is that toe is too much. WAY too much....

http://www.xoutpost.com/623046-post21.html
Me either, which is why I am so confused... The guy did say to ignore the red. The measurements are correct, but the specs (used to show the green/red) were for an 2010 X6. I agree, that this doesn't nothing to improve my confidence, they really should have had the correct info to hand.

The guy only charged me $65, as he admitted it was still pulling to the right even after they were done. I got the impression, in spite of numerous recommendations, that they were clueless.

So, seeing as we are all confused, what should I do now?
1) Go to the dealer and see what they say
2) Go to another alignment shop and get them to look at it

Assuming I go with either option, I'm going to get my $65 back. I paid with AMEX, so if he refuses (unlikely) I will just dispute the charge.

If I choose option 2, how do I find a reputable place? I was thinking of giving one of these places a try:
http://www.swalignment.com/
http://blog.driversource.com/

Thoughts?
 

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. . . So, seeing as we are all confused, what should I do now?
1) Go to the dealer and see what they say
2) Go to another alignment shop and get them to look at it . . . If I choose option 2, how do I find a reputable place? I was thinking of giving this place a try:http://www.swalignment.com/

Thoughts?
Ask the place you bought your Contis from . . . assuming you bought it at a local shop. Tell them what happened to you and they might be able to point you to a good alignment place. I have been using Discount Tires for nearly 20 years and they usually give me very good advice/leads. If you can't find a place where they know what they are doing, Dealer might be your best bet . . . $299 versus $98 for a four-wheel alignment.

Recalling from memory - on e70 . . . front tires, only toe is adjustable, rear tires; tow and camber are adjustable. Castor is not adjustable front or rear. As ard pointed out, I took out a lot of the toe (made it near neutral) to improve wear performance . . . I also reduced the camber in the rear to minimize inside wear.
 

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Me either, which is why I am so confused... The guy did say to ignore the red. The measurements are correct, but the specs (used to show the green/red) were for an 2010 X6. I agree, that this doesn't nothing to improve my confidence, they really should have had the correct info to hand.

The guy only charged me $65, as he admitted it was still pulling to the right even after they were done. I got the impression, in spite of numerous recommendations, that they were clueless.

So, seeing as we are all confused, what should I do now?
1) Go to the dealer and see what they say
2) Go to another alignment shop and get them to look at it

Assuming I go with either option, I'm going to get my $65 back. I paid with AMEX, so if he refuses (unlikely) I will just dispute the charge.

If I choose option 2, how do I find a reputable place? I was thinking of giving this place a try:
http://www.swalignment.com/

Thoughts?
Go back to the dealer. They are BMW experts.

I'd ask them, then swap tires across the vehicle and go for a spin. I've heard of bad tires before....

- Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ask the place you bought your Contis from . . . assuming you bought it at a local shop. Tell them what happened to you and they might be able to point you to a good alignment place. I have been using Discount Tires for nearly 20 years and they usually give me very good advice/leads. If you can't find a place where they know what they are doing, Dealer might be your best bet . . . $299 versus $98 for a four-wheel alignment.

Recalling from memory - on e70 . . . front tires, only toe is adjustable, rear tires; tow and camber are adjustable. Castor is not adjustable front or rear. As ard pointed out, I took out a lot of the toe (made it near neutral) to improve wear performance . . . I also reduced the camber in the rear to minimize inside wear.
I used Discount Tire too. They were fantastic... They did give me the name of an alignment place, but the guy admitted that while he takes his truck there, he was not sure if they had a lot of experience with "imported" vehicles. (I didn't point out that my X5 was made in the US - I just thanked him and went on my way).
 

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I used Discount Tire too. They were fantastic... They did give me the name of an alignment place, but the guy admitted that while he takes his truck there, he was not sure if they had a lot of experience with "imported" vehicles. (I didn't point out that my X5 was made in the US - I just thanked him and went on my way).
Just did a quick look at Southwest Alignment mentioned in your original thread - they *appear* to be quite good . . . sure passed a few requirements I used when looking for an alignment place - at least 10+ years in business (SW established 1995), mine is not the first BMW they are working on (SW website at least flashes a picture of a yellow BMW; you should call and ask if they have done an e70 X5 alignment), techs are ASE certified, uses Hunter's Hawkeye (my logic - shop won't invest in such equipment unless they have the volume to support it). Yes a plumb-bob and some chalk marks can do the job BUT it requires true skills - kinda like doing a hill start with your X5 versus a manual shift that requires you to double clutch - X5 will never roll back or stall out! SW has six alignment bays - even if they didn't know what they were doing initially, they sure do now via sheer practice!

Yelp has some pretty decent comments about SW Alignment.

For those that are wondering why I spent so much time to save just $200 on an alignment - yes Dealer will do a good job (no pulling to a side etc) BUT they won't (at least mine didn't) set alignment to a particular set of values. When everything is "green", the lift comes down and you get what you get. When I did mine at this non-dealer, I walked in with a printout of my previous alignment report and penciled in the figures I wanted the toe/camber set to . . . not a "it is all green, you are good to go" situation. In your case, the guy didn't even get it to green! Just get your money back . . . if he balks tell him you will write him up on Yelp!

I was exactly in your shoes when I got started, very knowledgeable BF Forum folks got me on the right track (thanks folks!) . . . and I am VERY happy I got the alignment done at a local shop. Alignment, like wheel balancing will be part of my routine maintenance.

If you are lucky, one of the BF Forum folks from the West U area who have used SW will respond. BTW I am very familiar with that area - spent several years there attending Rice U.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
UPDATE: I e-mailed Steve Ott at Drivers Source in Houston. They are a shop specializing in high end autos. I got his contact info from the forums. He seemed to really know his stuff and said he was confident he could fix it - emailing me back right away and following up with a call - very professional. He looked at the specs and actually said the shop did make things worse. He also commented that he had never seen a spec sheet like that. Anyway, I felt comfortable with the guy so I have left the car there for him to look at. He said that the problem may be resoved (after the alignment is put baclk to spec) by swaping the a wheel or two from left to right. Sometimes tires don't track perfectly, even when the specs indicate they should.

I'm going to ask for my money back from the other place, once I have the updated print outs showing the alignment was out of spec.

Drivers Source was a little more expensive ($140), but they do pickup and delivery and were also able to fit me in today, even though they have a backlog. I'll let you know how my experience works out. Fingers crossed...
 

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Did you mention WHERE you want the alignment WITHIN the BMW specs???????

One thing that concerns me with "high end/performance" shops is that the toe they set for a track/performance set up is NOT what you want on an SUV. I know I sound like a broken record, but you want toe to be very, very close to the 'minimum' (min is usually 0.00...you want 0.02")

On a performance alignment you want more toe to help turn in, but given the suspension in the X5, and the FACT that nobody races these things, you are just wasting money by doing this...tires will last 2-3x longer at minimum toe.

Does anyone have a link to the E70 BMW specs? I searched a bit but didnt find it... be useful to put one here:

:)

A
 

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On one of the Mini Cooper forums a couple of members reported "wandering" (both to the left and right) after switching to the DWS tires. Not sure if that's what's happening here, or if it's a "pull" (always in one direction). One of the members reporting solving the issue by inflating all 4 tires 5 to 8 psi over factory spec (and the ride was still not as rough as the run flats). Assumedly that somewhat offsets the fact that the DWS tires have much softer sidewalls versus the run flats that came on the truck. If you decide to try it, please let us know if it makes a difference or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
On one of the Mini Cooper forums a couple of members reported "wandering" (both to the left and right) after switching to the DWS tires. Not sure if that's what's happening here, or if it's a "pull" (always in one direction). One of the members reporting solving the issue by inflating all 4 tires 5 to 8 psi over factory spec (and the ride was still not as rough as the run flats). Assumedly that somewhat offsets the fact that the DWS tires have much softer sidewalls versus the run flats that came on the truck. If you decide to try it, please let us know if it makes a difference or not.
It's not wondering or tramlining, it's a drift and it's constantly to the right. If it really is the tires (the guy should be able to tell me today), I'll simply go back to Discount Tire and get them to replace them with the Michelin Latitude Tour HP's.

However, I'm pretty certain that's not the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Did you mention WHERE you want the alignment WITHIN the BMW specs???????

One thing that concerns me with "high end/performance" shops is that the toe they set for a track/performance set up is NOT what you want on an SUV. I know I sound like a broken record, but you want toe to be very, very close to the 'minimum' (min is usually 0.00...you want 0.02")

On a performance alignment you want more toe to help turn in, but given the suspension in the X5, and the FACT that nobody races these things, you are just wasting money by doing this...tires will last 2-3x longer at minimum toe.

Does anyone have a link to the E70 BMW specs? I searched a bit but didnt find it... be useful to put one here:

:)

A
I did tell him I wanted to minimize the toe to maximize my treadlife.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Did you mention WHERE you want the alignment WITHIN the BMW specs???????

One thing that concerns me with "high end/performance" shops is that the toe they set for a track/performance set up is NOT what you want on an SUV. I know I sound like a broken record, but you want toe to be very, very close to the 'minimum' (min is usually 0.00...you want 0.02")

On a performance alignment you want more toe to help turn in, but given the suspension in the X5, and the FACT that nobody races these things, you are just wasting money by doing this...tires will last 2-3x longer at minimum toe.

Does anyone have a link to the E70 BMW specs? I searched a bit but didnt find it... be useful to put one here:

:)

A
Update: Just called the guy. He said he will minimize the toe as much as possible, but keep it within spec. Realistically, he said the same as you, 0.00 would be the minmum, but most likely it will be about 0.02 or as close as they can get it within specifications. He said this will help the car track better, and have a marginal (not noticeable) affect on turn in performance. The guy races cars, so he seemed to have a very good handle on what I was talking about :)
 

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. . . Does anyone have a link to the E70 BMW specs? I searched a bit but didn't find it... be useful to put one here:

:)

A
This is the report I got when I did my first alignment using the local BMW dealership. Not sure if this info can substitute for BMW specs . . . but I would think a BMW tech would set the target figures to match BMW specs for e70.
 

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